World News Headlines: 11-28-2018

GERMANY (DW) Germany offers to mediate between Russia and Ukraine; German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said Germany could mediate between Ukraine and Russia in the ongoing crisis in the Sea of Azov. But some critics in Germany are calling on Berlin to help Kyiv militarily. Angela Merkel and various members of her Cabinet have appealed to both sides of the Ukraine-Russia conflict to de-escalate amid Ukraine’s calls for more military support from Germany and NATO. The German chancellor phoned Vladimir Putin on Monday evening to emphasize the “necessity for de-escalation and dialogue,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement. For his part, the Russian president condemned Ukraine’s “provocative behavior” and said he hoped Berlin could “influence” Ukraine to refrain from such actions in the future. Putin also expressed concern about Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s decision to impose martial law for 30 days.

(DW) Crimean court orders detention of Ukrainian sailors; A Crimean court has ordered that several Ukrainian sailors be detained for two months pending trial after a flare-up with Russia’s coastguard. They face charges that could eventually carry a 6-year jail sentence.

(DW) Dutch trains to compensate descendants of Jews deported to Nazi camps; The Netherland’s state-owned railway company made millions during WWII for operating trains that sent hundreds of thousands of Jews, including Anne Frank, to their deaths in Nazi camps. The Netherlands state-owned train company, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), will compensate individuals whose Jewish relatives were deported on its trains to concentration and extermination camps when the country was under Nazi-German occupation during World War II. Announced Tuesday on the nightly public television news show, the decision marks the first time that the train company will pay damages to individual descendants of Holocaust victims. Previously the NS had donated money to various remembrance projects.

(DW) German Islam Conference reconvenes search for German Islam; Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is convening the latest iteration of the German Islam Conference. The 2018 DIK will focus on integration, Islam and German law. Many new faces in attendance will make for lively debates.

(DW) Voters in former-Soviet Georgia head to the polls for a runoff election; People in the former Soviet state of Georgia head to the polls for a runoff election for president. Voters have a choice of a candidate who favors a closer relationship with Moscow or one who advocates a pro-West line.
Grigol Vashadze is a former foreign minister and the candidate for Georgia’s main opposition, the United National Movement (UNM). The party was founded by ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, who was sentenced in absentia for abuse of power earlier this year.
Salome Zurabishvili is also a former Georgian foreign minister and an independent candidate but endorsed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, founded by billionaire former prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

(DW) US sanctions Nicaragua’s VP and first lady Rosario Murillo; VP Murillo is also the wife of President Daniel Ortega, who has overseen a deadly crackdown against his political opponents. The US accused Murillo and another sanctioned advisor of undermining democracy in Nicaragua.

(DW) Costa Rican president backs holiday for army abolition; Carlos Alvarado Quesada would like to see Costa Ricans stay home from work on December 1, the day a military ruler abolished the national army in 1948. Alvarado called the abolition “essential” to Costa Rica’s identity.

(DW) Afghanistan ‘open for business,’ despite militant attacks; Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has urged foreign firms to invest in his country, claiming there are huge profits to be made. The appeal comes as both the Taliban and “Islamic State” ramp up attacks.

(DW) US angered by Hungary’s decision to extradite arms dealers to Russia; Budapest ignored a US extradition request, opting to hand over the father and son to Moscow instead. In a sting operation, the two were caught offering Mexican cartels anti-aircraft weapons in exchange for cocaine. US State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday that “the United States is disappointed in the Hungarian government’s decision to extradite the Lyubishins to Russia.” She added: “Hungary is a partner and friend of the United States, but this decision raises questions about Hungary’s commitment to law enforcement cooperation.” The men in question, Vladimir Lyubishin Sr. and Vladimir Lyubishin Jr., are accused of attempting to trade millions of dollars’ worth of arms with Mexican drug cartels in exchange for cocaine. The men were caught in a long-running international sting operation, in which they were arrested by representatives from the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Hungarian Counter-Terrorism Center (TEK) on November 9, 2016.

FRANCE (France24) Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday warned of the threat of “full-scale war” and said Russia had sharply increased its military presence on their shared border as tensions escalate between the ex-Soviet neighbours.

JAPAN (NHK) Ghosn admits to post-retirement payment plan; NHK has learned that former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn has admitted that there exists a company document about his receiving massive remuneration after retirement. But he reportedly added that he has not signed the document. Ghosn was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of understating his compensation in the firm’s securities reports for 5 years until March 2015 by about 5 billion yen, or about 44 million dollars, in violation of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. Sources close to the matter said Ghosn and Nissan had agreed that Ghosn was to receive worth about 2 billion yen, or about 17.6 million dollars, as annual payments. The sources say both parties have agreed to declare half the amount in the firm’s yearly report, and that Ghosn will receive the undeclared portion after his retirement. Ghosn reportedly maintains that he has asked former Nissan representative director Greg Kelly — who was also arrested — to arrange the post-retirement payments legally, and that Kelly told him the arrangement was legal.
Tokyo prosecutors have apparently decided that regulations require post-retirement payments to be declared in securities reports once their size was finalized.

(NHK) Envoy: Too early for N.Korea sanctions exemptions; Japan’s Ambassador to the United Nations says it is too early for the Security Council to allow North Korea exemptions from sanctions at a time when denuclearization talks remain stalled.

(NHK) Workplace-equality rules drawn up; A Japanese government panel has drawn up specific rules to enforce equal treatment at the workplace. Its guideline is aimed at eradicating unreasonable differences in the way regular and non-regular employees are treated.

(NHK) Award-winning photographer disappears in China; There are growing concerns about the fate of an award-winning Chinese photographer who appears to have vanished in the country’s far west. Lu Guang’s wife says she’s worried and has not heard from him for weeks.

(NHK) Abe addresses Olympic officials; Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the Japanese government will showcase Japan’s technology and culture to the world at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

(NHK) Firefighters still battling fire in Osaka; A fire that occurred in Suita city, Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, has forced about 180 people to evacuate. There are no reports of injuries.

(NHK) 22 killed by blast in China’s Hebei province; An explosion near a chemical factory in China’s northern Province of Hebei has left at least 22 people dead and 22 others injured. The state-run China Central Television and other media say the blast occurred early on Wednesday morning in the city of Zhangjiakou near the capital Beijing. They say about 50 trucks parked near the plant went up in flames. Photos and videos posted online, which are said to be taken at the site, show trucks on fire and billowing smoke. Chinese media have quoted local government officials as saying a truck loaded with chemicals exploded as it lined up to enter the factory, and the fire spread to nearby vehicles. Chinese authorities are now investigating the cause of the explosion.

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE®

CONTRIBUTOR: Staff

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